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November 17, 2022 4:46 pm

Israel and Jordan Agree to Clean Polluted Jordan River Together

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

The Jordan River, Israel. Photo: Britchi Mirela via Wikimedia Commons.

Israel and Jordan on Thursday signed a declaration of intent to jointly work on the ecological rehabilitation and sustainable development of the polluted Jordan River.

“The signing of this joint declaration is an expression of the close relationship between man and nature,” stated Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg. “It is also an expression of the connection between Israel and Jordan, neighboring countries with a river flowing between them, and is of great importance for our shared future in the region, especially in an era of global and regional changes that endanger us all.”

The advancement of the rehabilitation of the Jordan River, which runs from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the natural boundary separating Israel and Jordan is of interest to both countries due to its rich historical heritage, diverse biological ecosystem and as a tourist attraction, Israel’s Environmental Protection said in a statement.

In the declaration signed at the UN climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt between representatives of the two respective governments, it was acknowledged that saving the Jordan River, which due to effects of climate change suffers from a decline in water levels and scarce natural water resources, requires “transboundary action.”

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“A river free from hazards, clean and healthy, will provide health and prosperity for all the populations surrounding it and for all those who visit it,” said Zandberg. “Cleaning up the pollutants and hazards, restoring water flow and strengthening the natural ecosystems will help us prepare and adapt to the climate crisis.”

According to the declaration, Israel and Jordan both commit to set up wastewater and sewage facilities to treat and remove sources of pollution on both sides of their river territories. Both countries also pledged to take steps to improve the quality of freshwater flows in the river.

“The two countries will also aspire to promote regional tourism with the view of generating additional employment opportunities in the region, and to promote sustainable agriculture, including the control of agricultural drainage and reduction the use of chemical pesticides,” Israel’s Environmental Ministry stated.

Additionally, the Israel-Jordan cooperation is expected to yield the establishment of a Regional Research Center for River Rehabilitation along the Jordan River.

Earlier this month, Israel and Jordan inked an agreement to advance a US-backed water-for-energy deal as the two countries seek to capitalize on each other’s natural resources and advanced technologies.

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